As the number of international coronavirus cases continues to rise, many airlines are cancelling their flights. At the same time, measures to contain the virus are having a major impact on air traffic in Europe and beyond. Countries are beginning to impose entry bans (e.g. the USA closed down its borders). These developments will lead to a further sharp reduction in flights.
Therefore, it is important for you to know what your rights are if your flight is cancelled as you might be entitled to cancellation compensation because of Coronavirus.
Our foundation has made a clear and concise summary of your rights in case of cancellation due to coronavirus outbreak. Please, keep in mind that this pandemic situation is changing daily.
Cancelled flight because of Coronavirus: What can I do?
As with any flight cancellation, the airline is obliged to refund your ticket or offer you an alternative flight. This means that even if you are not entitled to compensation, you will at least get a replacement flight or your money back. In addition to a ticket reimbursement, we recommend that you find out whether or not you are eligible to receive compensation. Flightright will check your flight data and determine whether or not coronavirus is the real reason behind your flight cancellation.
Is coronavirus considered an exceptional circumstance?
According to the EU Reg. 261/2004, an extraordinary circumstance is an event beyond an airline’s control. The coronavirus outbreak is such an event as the EU Commission announced on 18.03.2020 that the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it are to be considered an exceptional circumstance.
Coronavirus: when am I entitled to compensation for my cancelled flight?
While some airlines are genuinely cancelling flights in order to protect their passengers, others are protecting their pockets. As chaos and panic increases, airlines wishing to cancel flights for economic reasons have a ready-made excuse: Coronavirus. According to our legal experts, passengers can claim cancellation compensation because of Corona when:
- Airlines cancel flights for financial reasons
- There are no enroute restrictions due to border closures
- No official travel warning to the destination has been issued
- Passengers were informed of the cancellation less than 14 days before departure
Airlines attributing flight cancellations to “extraordinary circumstances” may be telling half the truth. This is not always the case. The demand has fallen significantly due to the outbreak of the virus and a lot of flights have therefore been cancelled based on economic considerations.
I don’t wan’t to fly in such situation. What are my options?
Air traffic to and from regions with confirmed coronavirus outbreaks has already been partially restricted. If you are uncertain about other destinations and wish to postpone or cancel your trip, you should contact the airline as a precautionary measure.
Can I protect myself from coronavirus during my flight and if yes, how?
The best recommendation you can receive is to avoid any unnecessary flights and maintain good hygiene practices. Stay up-to-date by following the news and travel warnings. All the latest information can be found here on the World Health Organisation’s website.
Flight cancellation due to border closure: What rights do I have?
Numerous countries within and outside of the EU have already begun to close their borders to counteract the spread of the coronavirus and other countries are expected to follow them as well. Unfortunately, in such situation you have no right to compensation. This is an exceptional circumstance and the only thing you are entitled to, is to have your ticket cost reimbursed or rebooked.
Stuck at holiday destination because of cancelled flight due to coronavirus outbreak: What to do?
First, don’t panic and keep in mind that all passengers have a contract of carriage with the airline or tour operator. This means that they are entitled to a replacement flight or rebooking to get home. This simply means that if your flight is cancelled, you should contact the tour operator or airline directly for alternative transportation. Otherwise, contact the nearest embassy or consulate of your country.